Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Albania, a province of European Turkey, extending along the coast of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas from Montenegro in the N. to Greece in the S., and extending 100 miles inland at its broadest part, and 30 miles at its narrowest. The country is mountainous and thickly wooded, affording plenty of sport. Scutari, on the lake of that name, is the chief town. Dulcigno, a port of some consequence, was ceded to Montenegro under the Berlin Treaty of 1878. The Albanians are commonly regarded as the only surviving descendants of the northern division of the Thraco-Hellenic Aryans, who at the dawn of history are found in exclusive possession of the Balkan Peninsula. They call themselves Shkipetar, i.e. "Rock" or "Hill Men," a term synonymous with Albanian, which itself, through the Byzantine Arbanitae, again reappears in the corrupt form Arnaut, their common Turkish designation. The Albanians are the only European Aryans who still largely retain the tribal form of organisation, their three main divisions being - (1) the Ghegs, in Upper Albania southwards to river Shkumbi, with chief tribes Mirdites, Pulati, Klementi, and Hotti; (2) the Toshles of Central Albania, with chief tribes Liapes, Kheimariots, Khamides, and Suliots; (3) the Hellenised Epirots, of the vilayet Yanina, with no tribes. Though somewhat Slavonised about the Montenegro frontier, the Ghegs are the purest representatives of the old West Thracian (Illyrian) stock. They number about 600,000, of whom 400,000 are Mohammedans, 150,000 Roman Catholics of the Latin rite, and 50,000 Orthodox Greeks. The Toshks have been variously affected by Slav, Turk, and Hellenic influences. They number about 800,000, of whom 600,000 are Mohammedans, and 200,000 Orthodox Greek. The Epirots are nearly all Greek, both in religion and language. The Albanian language, which must be regarded as a survival of the old Thraco-Illyrian, is remotely allied to the Greek, and is spoken in two distinct varieties, Gheg and Toshk, differing one from the other as much as High from Low German. The Albanians are physically a fine race, with long head, oval face, rather high cheek bones, long thin nose, small hazel or blue eyes, light brown hair, broad chest, tall shapely figures, except in some of the central districts, where the type has been apparently in contact with the Ugrian Bulgarians in the eighth and ninth centuries. They are still in the barbaric state, with little knowledge of letters, none of the higher arts and sciences; but the warlike virtues are sedulously cultivated, and for physical courage they are unsurpassed by any people, ancient or modern.